About Me

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This is my blog AND my website now. Click on the " my paintings" tab to view my paintings. Scroll down to read my blog.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Hello to you people who probably picked up my business card at the chalk art festival.  I am trying to be a more responsible artist by taking better advantage of all the free publicity at the festival.  That's why you got my business card.  
Above is a photo of my beautiful dog, Friday, posing in front of some of my more recent paintings that are for sale.  If you are interested in buying my art, click on the "my paintings" tab above.  The prices of the most recent works are posted.  You can always email me by finding my address under the "contact info" tab above as well.  And also look at the "other projects" tab- that tab is the funnest tab.  

Monday, March 04, 2013

Jenson's Not Happy

This is my moist recently finished painting. It's a picture of my nephew, Jenson.

As you can see, I'm trying to expand my style. I'm also experimenting with oils again- something I swore I would never touch again. I know that I have more potential for my skills to grow with oil paint ( as opposed to just acrylic)- it's just that it's so uncomfortable for me. I first painted this in acrylic and then did a layer of oil over it- and I do think the oil added a lot to the skin tone that wasn't possible with just the acrylic.

I took my reference picture a couple weeks ago when we were in the springs. It's just a phone picture, because I wasn't actually planning on doing a painting. As you can see below, the picture I painted off of is the second picture, and the first picture was taken only a couple seconds before. Sarah, Jenson's mommy, took a little too long between feeding him one bite of baby food to the next, and that made Jenson unhappy.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baby Josalyn

About a year ago I heard through Facebook that a friend from high school had experience the worst nightmare. My friend Laura's year old baby suddenly died. Imagining the grief she was probably going through was painful for me, and I decided to paint a portrait for her of her little girl, Josalyn (seen above).
When Josalyn passed away, she was wearing an outfit that said on it "fly away little butterfly" but the hospital disposed of the outfit, and Laura really wanted to have it. I tried my googling skills to try to locate a duplicate online, but wasn't as skilled as others were. Through the work of her online friends and networking she was able to recover three of the outfits- I didn't quite realize the significance of this number until I read this article, which was printed in her local newspaper.
You should read the story, it's really wonderful. And the article features the photo below, of her family posing with the picture I painted, which I titled "fly away little butterfly". I'm continually amazed by her ability to maintain hope in the midst of such a horrible tragedy.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Buckhorn Exchange

Rocket and I have been dreaming of going to the "Buckhorn exchange" ever since we saw it featured on "Man vs Food" a couple months ago. We knew we were in for an adventure so we decided to make a Valentines date of it last night. The Buckhorn Exchange is the oldest restaurant in Denver and serves more kinds of animals than any other restaurant in the city. We already knew we were going to go for it, and try out their famous Rocky Mountain Oysters (which you knew is bull testicles, right?). Also, we ordered rattle snake queso- a cheesy dip topped with tasty rattle snake meat. Lastly, we got fried artichokes and turtle cheesecake (surprisingly, not made out of turtle meat, but that is probably somewhere else on the menu).
This is us at home before we left:

We weren't let down, and everything tasted delicious. On a recent episode of "This American Life", someone referred to the deep fat fryer as the "great culinary equalizer of all food"- meaning that the meat doesn't really matter. As long as you batter, deep fat fry, and then serve it with a creamy dipping sauce, you can't go wrong. I think they're right, because the bull balls tasted delicious.
There were far more animals in the restaurant than there were people- but they were all on the walls.

And here is a lovely picture of me and my real Valentine. Roxanne and Matt went on a different date together last night. And for today, Valentines day, we did nothing. Happy Valentines day all!


Thursday, February 07, 2013


This is a project that I started with the kids when we first moved into the house, and I predict it will be an "unfinished project" for the entire time we live here. Unfinished projects are usually bad, but sometimes they can be good, if the project is one that is meant to grow and evolve, and if time itself is an element in the piece of art.
Jodi originally had me start collecting caps for her. I don't know what she was going to do with them, but when she decided to move to Scotland, she abandoned her cap collection and I inherited all she and I had collected. Thankfully, when she moved back from Scotland, she didn't ask for all her caps back. In fact, she is one of my most loyal collectors/donors.
I have a big tub in the pantry of our kitchen and every time we end up with a plastic cap, we throw it into the tub. (By the way, threaded plastic caps can't be recycled, like their plastic containers can be). Every time the tub gets full, we go out back and glue them to the fence using liquid nails glue. I lightly sketch a wave shape on the wood, and then the kids and I glue the caps around the chalk line. At first, just our family was the major contributor of the caps- every now and then people would give me some, but most of them were from whatever products we used. But ever since I posted photos of what we were doing, I've been getting more and more cap donations from other people. At this point, I probably have way more donated caps than my own caps.
I know a cap that you would normally throw away seems like a small thing and not much of a sacrifice, but it really does make me feel so good when someone gives me a bag full of caps. Because, it's one thing to buy or make a gift for someone when they are having a birthday, or at Christmas time. But it's a totally different thing to slowly and gradually accumulate something for someone during the course of your mundane life. One cap isn't much, but a bag FULL of caps really adds up! A bag full of caps is a whole lot of thoughts of love for me during very intimate and personal daily moments. It's means that there was a moment when someone was making a PB&J sandwich for their kid, and they were scraping the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar while their kid sat there waiting, and then they thought of ME. Or... It means, they were naked in the shower, squeezing the last bit of shampoo out of the bottle, and they thought of ME. Or it means as they took their last Xanax pill and remembered they had to refill their prescription, they thought of ME. It means the thought of me invades people's lives in a very small, but very frequent amount that adds up to a whole whole lot and I'm just amazed that people actually do it for me.
I mean.... not everyone does it. And I understand. I don't know how much someone would have to mean to me before I would alter my lifestyle for them.... and maybe the people that do it for me, aren't perceptive enough to realize that all those small sacrifices of stockpiling caps actually accumulate to equal quite a bit of a sacrifice, and I'm thankful for their ignorance.
Once a month, I get together with three other moms from the kids' school in Highlands Ranch for breakfast, and each of them always has a baggy of caps to give me, and it feels like Christmas for me. Sarah, one of the ladies, even brought caps back from her vacation in Hawaii for me, irritating her husband when it took up space in their luggage. I'm amazed at people's willingness to inconvenience themselves like that. And every Sunday at church, there is always at least one person who hands me a grocery sack full of caps. Warms my heart so much!
And it's not just for the finished product of having a colorful fence- it's for the experience for me and the kids- it's amazing how therapeutic the process is. We play music and the repetitive act of grabbing the cap and placing it on the fence becomes like a dance. It's colorful, and we're in the sunshine, and as an array of spots and circles grow down the fence, I try to honor each plastic cap as it goes up, knowing that at some point, there was someone behind it honoring me in a small way too. The pictures below don't show it, but we've got a pretty huge backyard and there is a whole lot more fence that isn't showing. Our fence goes on like, forever. So that means the wave of caps can keep growing and growing the longer we live here. It's such a fun ritual that makes us feel so blessed. So many people love us and we're so lucky for that!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rocket Science

Since Rocket won his school science fair a couple months ago, he had the chance to participate in the district wide science fair where all the Denver Public Elementary Schools sent their school winners to compete. This was a big deal to him, but he didn't expect to win.

The picture above is him before the fair. The only bad parts is they didn't let the public in to view all of the exhibits. I got into the zoo free, but had to stay out of the exhibit room- especially when the judges were present. But Rocket must have done a good job presenting on his own. During the awards ceremony, I said a little prayer to God hoping that if he was able to have the encouragement of placing, it would make up for all the negative experiences he's been having lately (mostly with other kids at school). We were all surprised when he got the award for "best in show". I hope I didn't help him too much with his project.

This is him along with the other three winners. He was beaming at this moment.

This is him with his big ole ribbon in front of his board.


We also got some special "backstage" access at the zoo to see some animals close up. I liked this grinning alligator.


Roxanne insisted that Rocket do what she had come to the zoo for- the carousel. And he was still on top of the world. He looks like such a little boy in this picture, I think.


The lion "cubs" were posing quite well for pictures and I thought they looked especially cuddly.

I also liked the dik dik deer. I thought a dik dik would be a better pet than a cat. Especially if it would sit in a window sill. It was about the same size as Friday, so they could be great friends.

We went to Chili's afterwards to celebrate Rocket's great achievement.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pictures of Jesus

A couple of weeks ago I saw this picture of Jesus at the Goodwill, and I don't know what it was that I liked about it, but it caught my eye and I bought it for 1.99. A week or so after I bought it, I opened up the frame so that I could color some orange rays behind Jesus, and I discovered that it was actually just a page that was ripped out of a magazine. There was also a photo behind it of a black man with an afro in a white robe- I threw that picture away, so I don't have it to show you, but he looked like he was in some sort of a cult- mostly because of the white robe/dress thing.
But I became curious about the picture of Jesus and decided to do some research on it to see who the artist was, and when it was drawn, and whatnot. I've been watching this show on MTV called Catfish, where they try to catch people who are pretending to be someone hot and then having an online affair with someone who doesn't know their being fooled. One of their techniques is to take the pictures that the person claims is themself, and put it into the google reverse image search, which will search the Internet for similar images. Usually the impersonator has just stolen the pictures from someone on MySpace who actually is hot, and the reverse image search reveals that. So I did a reverse image search on Jesus- I didn't find any impersonators.
Actually, there really wasn't much information about the picture. I found a few other people posting the picture also trying to find information about it- saying it was such a striking and intriguing picture of Jesus, just like my first impression was. The only thing I did find was a site with an article about the picture, along with 17 other similar pictures. The article claimed that all the image's are mysterious in that the artists are unknown. But even more mysterious is the fact that they all supposedly came from unrelated origins, but all resemble eachother so closely. One theory is that the pictures were created after the shroud of Turin was gaining popularity, and all of the artists were drawing the pictures based on the image on the shroud (seen in the last bottom right square). The picture below shows all the different drawings and I think the one I have must be the one in the far right row, middle column.
Here is another lovely picture of Jesus. Matt and I were in charge of Sunday school a couple weeks ago, so I facilitated the creation of this picture. All the kids contributed to it, and it's too bad that you can't see all the glitter.

And this is a picture of Jesus I made using my "percolator" app on my phone- it was made from a classic Byzantine image. I thought it looked so cool, I made it my phone's wallpaper.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unfinished projects in progress

I've heard before that unfinished projects and/or responsibilities are one of the biggest contributing factors to stress in ones life. I've found this to be true. When I procrastinate a task, that means all of the time up until I actually do the task will be contaminated by negative thoughts- especially if the task is visible- like on the kitchen table. I think of tasks like fruit, and my brain is the fruit bowl- if I get too many fruits in the bowl, I won't be able to eat them all before one of them rots. And once one fruit rots, it ruins all the other fruit too. All that is to say, that I have an unusually high amount of unfinished projects around the house right now. I've been very "nesty" lately- probably because I don't have any firm exciting goals for my life right now, so I'm just enjoying being at home.

The beer cap wall is coming along slowly but surely. I glue a handful of caps on every night or so. But I should also point out that the pantry next to the wall is cleaner than in the last picture.

This is a horse named Penny that I'm in the process of painting. My father in law, Gary, is going to build a pole and base for the horse when I'm done painting it.

I started painting stripes for my living room a couple months ago... And that's an extremely tedious task. Definitely a fruit I need to get out of the bowl, as it is polluting all my other thoughts every time I am in the living room.

Oh but I would like to also talk about the paint. I didn't choose the color by meticulously examining paint chips. No. I have been saving every bit of left over latex paint I've ever had ever since we got our first home ten years ago- it really adds up. And people told me I needed to throw all the cans away because you can't store them (its against the storage rules) but I really just wanted to hold onto them. So I packed them all (like 30 big cans of paint) into boxes and labeled the boxes "zip ties", which was code word for paint cans. I think I was trying to think of a code word and just looked up and happened to see a zip tie. I thought that if for any reason, the POD company looked through our stuff to make sure we were following the rules, they'd be like "wow they have a lot of zip ties" but I wouldn't get in trouble for storing the paint. ANYWAYS- for my living room walls I poured all the paint together to make two colors- the pinkish clay color, and the purply blue color. It felt like I was leaving the color of our living room in fates hands, so this was the color it was meant to be.

But I need to get it done, knock it out, pronto, stripey stripey, get going!

Oh ok, this here is a project in Rockets room. Back when we were trying to sell the old house, I had to do a lot of work and neglected the kids a lot, and then when we were showing the house, it was super inconvenient for them to have to keep their rooms clean and whatnot, and I felt a lot of unnecessary guilt for abusing them in that way. So I promised both kids that as soon as we got into the new house, I would paint a mural of whatever their hearts desired onto their bedroom wall. Rockets heart desired a periodic table. This is the project I will work on, probably, when I'm done with this blog post, because its the most fun unfinished project. I haven't even started Roxanne's mural yet.
OK now this... this isn't so much an unfinished project as it is just being well prepared for the future! I don't ever use my muffin tins for making muffins. So I used a white board marker and labeled each pod with a different letter- except M and W are the same (since you can just invert one to make the other) and I combined X and Z because there's not many of those. And then I cut out letters in cool fonts when I find them in magazines and put them in their proper pod. I categorized this as an "unfinished project" because I haven't actually used the letters for anything yet, but I never know when I might need to be prepared to write a ransom note.
Actually, the kids want to make buttons for their classmates for valentines day and spell their names with magazine letters, and this will help it go faster. The good thing about changing schools is that we can recycle some of our old tricks with the new classmates- making buttons would have been "so last year" at the old school (since that's what they passed out last year).
The thing is, cutting out letters is so freaking addicting, once I start, I can't stop! I used up all our magazines yesterday and then was in the kitchen and noticed that the "Rosarita" refried beans had a really cool font on the can's label, so a actually cut the letters off that label, and that might have been going too far. I have way more letters than i need, but I think the letters will come in handy for something else too.

Ok so I was going to confess something to you, but then I felt like I was divulging too much, and it made me feel really embarrassed. So I'm going to just tell it in a really vague way. There is this thing... that I've been procrastinating for about 4 years now. It makes me feel really really horrible. It's a really rotten fruit in my head- like beyond rotten. And the more I put it off, the more difficult it is to do. And no one is holding me accountable for it... except my conscience. And now writing it down here is like pulling the rotten fruit out and squishing the rotten juice all over everything else. EW!

I just wanted to say that so that I could end my blog on a bad note. That way next time I post something it will automatically sounds like an improvement. Now for a day of finishing...


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Forts and Tuna

There was something that came to my mind this week that would have made a decent blog post. I remember thinking of it, but I don't remember what it was. I remember thinking, "oh yeah, that will be ok to make a blog post about." But now I don't remember what I said that in my head about. It was something listish- like it involved a list. Because I remember visualizing a numbered list in my head. Darn. If I ever remember, I will blog it. Until then, you're stuck with meaningless crap. Stuff that has no metaphorical potential. But I'm still blogging, and so that counts as not giving up.

Christmas break is over and that is significant because it means the kids are back in school. That's significant because it means I actually have a chance to do something with my life worth blogging about. That's not to say it will actually happen though. During the Christmas break, the kids slept in a fort every single night. Why don't people actually grow up to live in forts? I mean, if you actually had the chance to live in a fort for real, why wouldn't you? I don't know the answer to this despite the fact that I am grown up, and still don't live in a fort. Scratch that. Check back next week... I am making plans.

This is their fort. It has two rooms. I couldn't really get the entire fort into the camera frame. My mother gave Roxanne these fort building squares for Christmas and she loves them. If you are interested in buying them yourself, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up because they're really expensive I think... I actually haven't really looked them up, because I don't really want to know how expensive they really are.

One night during Christmas break I actually slept with them IN the fort as a way of rewarding them for not fighting with eachother for 24 hours straight. That shows how desperate I am. Granted, at some time after midnight, I did sneak out of the fort and get in my own bed, because I couldn't stand to not be able to straighten my legs for that long. But still, I'm really willing to go to great lengths to promote peace in this household. I really am desperate for it. It is 4 degrees outside right now, and I might be willing to go try it out... for a couple hours at least , if it meant people weren't wanting to kill each other around here. I'm serious. Totally serious!

Also... Changing the subject here in a major way... I'd like to share with you about this little dog named Tuna, which I met (not in the literal way) through Instagram. I've fallen so in love with this little dog, and he really has the most precious story behind him (read about it more here). So I decided to use him as my most recent digital painting subject, so look at my digital painting of him below. If you're on Instagram, you really must follow him and this is his user name: TunaMeltsMyHeart. His pictures fill my heart with warmth, love, peace and jealousy. Jealousy that my own dog is not so adorably ugly- although my dog is quite almost as nearly perfect as he could be (minus a little extreme ugliness).

Here is an actual picture of the sweetheart:


That's all I have to say for now. The most comfort I get all week comes soon in the form of murder. An all new 48 Hours Mystery tonight. Really... the thing I look most forward to is a really really good murder... and doggy snuggles. Goodnight world.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Chalkboard and Moggers

About a year or two ago, Lindsey Widstrom gave us a really big chalk board. I don't know where she got it, but she probably stole it from a classroom, I'm guessing. So I just decided I was going to write a blog post about the chalk board so I was trying to dig up all of my pictures of it, in every stage of its life that it has had since being with us, but I couldn't find them all. And I don't want to put too much energy into trying to find them, because then I would probably just not post anything. Below is a picture of Lindsey and Roxanne. There is a funny butterfly border on that picture, so ignore that.


When we moved into our new house, Roxanne designated on little area of the living room as her "school" area. She teaches school lessons, mostly to Friday but also sometimes to her stuffed animals or anyone else who will listen. So we hung the chalkboard there and she comes up with a different subject she wants to teach every month or so, and me and her work together to creat an educational illustration for it. The picture below was from when she wanted to teach about the organs of the body:

Then she wanted to teach about the United States of America. We had to use my handy dandy projector to trace the lines out. That's Rocket's head in the front:

I think for the past 5 years Roxanne has asked for a cash register for Christmas. I always ignored her because I thought a cash register was a babyish toy. But this year I finally set out to find one she would like. I found a cute one on Etsy (as you see in the photo below, lower left hand corner).

This week she decided to turn her school into a store (Friday had had enough of her lessons anyways, and whenever she would say "school time!!!!", Friday would run away). So we created this store on the chalk board. She actually did most of the work on this one. And her store is called "Marvelous M". They sell accessories- purses, hats, lipstick, vases and even football helmets.

In conclusion, we have a chalk board, and we do stuff on it. So that's interesting, right? I'm such a mom blogger. I wonder if I could coin the term "mogger". It refers to a mom who blogs about her kids because she believes her kids are more interesting than other people's kids, and therefore, everyone on the Internet should read about them. I could post some links to some mogger blogs so you could understand what a mogger is, but I wouldn't want them to find out.


Friday, January 04, 2013

Beer caps

I finally got started on this project I've been planning for quite some time now. If you spend anytime with me at all, you'd know that I always have my eyes peeled for stray beer caps- possibly more than I have my eyes peeled for stop signs or one way signs. Some of you have had pity on me and my obsession and have contributed to my collection- particularly Tim and Sarah who gave me a box (sort of the size of a large shoebox I guess) filled to the brim with beer caps for Christmas. It might have been the best Christmas gift I got this year! Well, except for the cool-head pillow that matt gave me. So I started tiling the wall today. This is how far I got:
Matt's favorite present was the beer bottle opener wall fixture that I got him. This sounds like we're obsessed with beer huh? I don't even drink it- that's why I need so much help from friends. You can see my box below that is filled with all the caps I have. I was going to do a larger wall but I decided to start on this smaller less intimidating wall. Rocket counted all my caps and calculated that I would only have enough to do 4% of the large wall. When I'm done gluing, I will apply grout. And I will post pics too.
Ummm... Well, no good metaphor tonight. I'm also watching TV again. "Seeking a friend for the end of the world"- but I'm not sure what's going on, because I wasn't paying good attention to it.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Let's see if I can write a blog post and watch Sister wives at the same time.

I don't want to blog every single day because I don't want to start blogging about mundane stupid things. Yesterday I started to blog about these chairs that I bought off of Craig's list. It seemed like something significant because completing the mission to get the chairs caused a lot of adrenaline to rush through me. But sometimes I get an adrenaline rush out of mundane things... that's why I have so much dysfunctional anxiety. And I started thinking that if I started blogging about purchases, it's a slippery slope before I'd be blogging about what I made for dinner, how I get my kids to school, my dogs daily routine, etc. But I really want to show you the chairs.

They look like hands. And I got four of them because they were only 20 bucks each! In the past, I've always been defeated when trying to buy something on Craig's list. Somebody always gets the good deals before me and I don't like competition.

Ok, now, ideally, I'd be able to extract from this situation some metaphor comparing this to the grand scheme of things. That makes for the best blogs- when I actually have something deep to say.

Oh my gosh. The sister wives are ALWAYS crying. They are way too emotional. If this post seems choppy, it's because I'm watching TV at the same time.

Another situation I thought about blogging about.... I'll come up with a metaphor about it later... is New Year's Day. As a family, we went over to Clyde and Susie's house for a "Jewish New Year's Day hangover brunch". The kids had a lot of giggles over this painting. Rocket is pretending that he is being "mature" about the situation- but that was just for the photo.

I, personally, think it's a fabulous painting. It's possibly my favorite painting of Clyde's. The kids were enamored, and apparently, inspired. Today they recreated the painting on paper- a joint effort- Roxanne started the drawing and Rocket finished it (that's not typical):

Not bad.

And life is like a big fat naked lady. If you don't understand that metaphor, perhaps you are not thinking deep enough.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Top Ten Things That Happened to me in 2012

At first I was going to put this list in chronological order but that made me have to think too hard. And then I was going to put the list in order of importance, but I was too indecisive- except for number one. That one was clearly the most important- the rest were all somewhat of a tie, I think.

1. Moving to Locust Street. This is important because it meant moving away from Highlands Ranch, which represented oppression and isolation and embarrassment to me. I remember December of 2011 when we were setting up our artificial Christmas tree in our Highlands Ranch home for the fifth time, and I said something like "man, wouldn't it be great if this was our last Christmas in this house?" But as soon as I said it, I realized it was ridiculous and unrealistic and I tried not to get my hopes up. But despite my worries and pessimism, things came together and our house sold and we found the perfect house in Denver, and every day I've dwelt here since feels like such a huge blessing. I feel "at home"- like this is where we are meant to live. It seems to have marked a turning point for our family- a fresh start.

I painting this in the side of the house as a reference to the street name.

2. My second year participating in the chalk art festival. I actually did get around to posting about this on the blog, so I won't say too much. I had a fun time and won "best use of color". I also felt so thankful to have Matt as my assistant and he made me feel so supported and encouraged.

3. The hot air balloon festival. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Colorado Springs hot air balloon festival with my dad when I was a little girl. This year I went with my dad and Roxanne and it was just like I had remembered it- magical.


4. When I heard about this happening:

5. Going to the Book of Mormon with my brother Luke. I spent two hours online fighting for them last January, and then got to go see it in August. It was fabulous and ridiculous and wonderful- especially in light of all my Utah memories.

6. Thanksgiving in Kansas. We had quite a few good adventures on the way there including the genoa wonder tower (a location off my bucket map), the best bathrooms in America, and a dead man in Lucas (but we weren't allowed to take a picture or I would post it here).

Inside the wonder tower
Parts of the bathroom above.
Rock city in Kansas was really cool too.

Ugh. My thumbs are getting tired. iPad typing is not too easy. Maybe I should have made it a top 6 list.

7. Rocket winning the school science fair. When I picked him up from school that day he said, "that was the happiest moment of my life". And that makes it one of MY happiest moments too.

BTW, he looks much more humble in this picture than he was in reality.

8. Visiting the Mother of Cabrini Shrine with my good friend Stephanie from Utah. It was unplanned (we actually planned on going to redrocks). It was a beautiful place where you could see all of Denver, and I'd like to go back in the spring when the flowers are blooming.

9. Eating an awesome blossom on my birthday. Also, thanks to matt, lots of friends gave me lots of caps which always make me happy.

Chilis no longer makes Awesome Blossoms, but you can get the same thing at Texas Roadhouse or Outback Steakhouse.
10. My gingerbread house party. And I already said enough about that right?

Typing with just my thumbs, is making them really freezing cold, so I wonder if it's somehow cutting off the blood to my thumbs. My next post will be shorter.